17+ Vacation Spending Statistics So You Can Plan Your Next Trip

Updated · May 20, 2023

With the coronavirus craze seemingly subsiding, more and more people are beginning to gallivant around the globe, trying to make up for the last two years.

Travel spending in April 2022 overtook 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic began—it was 3% higher.

As such, we at Web Tribunal thought this would be as good a time as any to present some vacation spending statistics.

We’ve all got days off saved up, so let’s make sure we don’t waste them.

Meandering Vacation Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • Hawaii saw a 60% decrease in tourism because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Travel in the US is expected to generate $1.26 trillion in 2025.
  • 58% of Americans prefer to buy local when traveling.
  • About 40 million visit the 660,000 Airbnb listings in the US.
  • US passport holders can travel visa-free to 186 countries.
  • Nine out of 10 Gen Zers make travel decisions based on social media.
  • 47% of millennials believe it’s important to stay connected with their employer while on holiday.
  • 91% of families are interested in an “unplugged” vacation.

Statistics on Travel Costs

Traveling costs both money and time. Luckily, as we mentioned earlier, most people have a little extra of both right now.

So, how should we spend that extra?

Here are a few fun ideas and some statistics to go with each one.

1. An international trip costs an average of $271 per day.

(Source: Value Penguin)

Going on holiday is expensive—there’s no doubt about that. But the average vacation cost for a domestic trip is substantially lower compared to international travel.

You can assume you’ll spend around $144 daily when traveling within the US. If you go abroad, you’ll need $271 per day. Keep in mind that these numbers include travel fares and accommodation costs, too.

Another essential thing to consider is how long the trip will be. On average, a domestic trip lasts only four days long, spending a total of $581. For comparison, when people from the US go abroad, they tend to stay out of the country for about 12 days, spending $3,251.

2. More than half of US tourists stay with family or friends when traveling domestically.

(Source: Value Penguin)

If your travel budget isn’t quite up to par, you needn’t despair. You can always stay with friends or family and cut down on lodging costs.As a matter of fact, that’s precisely what 58% of Americans do when traveling within the country.

That said, you’re less likely to have that luxury when going abroad—less than 40% of US travelers do.

Fun fact: Accommodation expenses comprise 26% of total travel expenses for domestic trips (when applicable) and 21% for international trips.

3. Tourism generated 2.92% of the US’ GDP in 2019.

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

As a part of the US economy, tourism is fairly important—before the pandemic, it generated nearly 3% of the country’s GDP. In 2020, it experienced a sharp drop of -48% in real output, meaning it had a share of just 1.71% of GDP.

Another unfortunate consequence of COVID was the decrease in the number of jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector. It fell from 9.5 million employees in 2019 to just 6.3 million in 2020—that’s 3.2 million fewer jobs.

4. Projections suggest that travel in the US will generate $1.26 trillion in 2025.

(Source: Statista)

Individually, the price of travel can be unpleasantly high to many of us, but wait till you see the total amount spent cumulatively in a year.

In 2019, that number stood at $1.126 trillion, and about 85% of that was domestic expenditure. In other words, Americans spent nearly $1 trillion traveling within the US.

By 2020, with the pandemic in full swing, the total expenditure had dropped down to $877 billion for both domestic and international travel.

The good news (for the economy) is that travel spending is projected to make a full recovery by 2023.

5. Half of all international holiday-goers plan to spend more money on travel than they did in 2019.

(Source: U.S. Travel Association)

Most of the vacation spending statistics over the last few years have been quite depressing, but they’re looking reasonably optimistic nowadays.

86% of the people who intend to travel abroad say they’re willing to spend at least as much as they would have before COVID. Moreover, 50% are planning to spend more.

It seems staying at home for two years does help your bank account—or at least gives you some perspective on how to live your short life to its full potential.

Fun fact: In April 2022, for the first time since 2019, travel spending exceeded pre-pandemic levels—by 3%. It reached $100 billion.

Family Vacation Statistics

There are those who travel alone in an attempt to get away from everything and everyone.

There are also those who save up all year for a vacation with their entire family in tow.

You’ve probably experienced the latter at theme parks, walking in a horizontal formation, blocking entire sidewalks.

6. Traveling with kids? 56% of millennials aren’t ready for that yet.

(Source: Travel Agent Central)

Family travel is becoming increasingly popular with young adults. As most millennials are now in their 20s or 30s, it’s only natural for them to be having kids—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to stop traveling.

On the contrary, millennial families are the demographic group that’s the most likely to travel internationally. Moreover, an entire 44% of the cohort take their kids with them when holidaying.

Fun fact: Millennials are very family oriented. More than half of them live with their parents and 74% of them let their own kids have a voice on all important household decisions.

7. 91% of families are interested in an unplugged vacation.

(Source: Condor Ferries)

When traveling with your family, you expect to spend time together. What often happens instead is that everyone ends up spending a lot of time on their phones—by themselves.

In fact, this is such a significant issue that 91% of families are interested in trying out an “unplugged vacation”—i.e., a couple of days without tech.

Alas, to want is one thing, and to do a wholly different matter altogether.

In 2019, only 37% gave it a go. Hopefully, more will in the future. After a pandemic-induced lockdown with technology as a constant companion, a week of vacation that’s free of modern-day perturbations does sound alluring, doesn’t it?

8. Summer is the holiday season for 80% of families.

(Source: Condor Ferries)

Summer is generally a popular time for vacationing, but it’s an overwhelmingly common choice for families in particular. This is likely due to purely practical considerations—summer is usually when kids have the longest school break.

For comparison, only 42% of families go on a spring break trip.

Fun fact: 70% of families factor in amenities for children when choosing their destination.

9. For half of the people in the US, speed is the main consideration when choosing mode of transportation.

(Source: Condor Ferries)

A significant chunk of any vacation budget goes towards travel fares and lodging costs. Specifically, 44% of a family’s travel costs have to do with transportation—yet, only a third of the people in the country decide on a means of transportation based on price.

The majority (52%) prefer the fastest way of getting to their destination, even if it’s not the cheapest. Then again, considering kids aren’t always exceptionally patient, we see how speed becomes a priority when vacationing with one’s family.

Travel Demographics

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and since travel is often about exploring beautiful new places, it’s reasonable to assume that the best way to travel and the best destinations are subjective, too.

Things aren’t as simple as different individuals having a preference for different locations—generational variations are quite distinct.

Let us show you.

(Source: The Wandering RV)

Everyone knows that young people are more active online than their elders. The discrepancy is particularly obvious when it comes to travel.

Tourism statistics suggest that 36% of the younger generation make travel-related decisions based on social media. This includes their choice of destination, lodging, entertainment, and anything else.

No other demographic is as likely to be influenced by social media as Gen Z. For comparison, millennials are more likely to be persuaded by ads, whereas the majority of Gen Xers still rely on travel agents to book their plans.

11. Millennials take up to 35 vacation days annually. 

(Source: The Wandering RV)

Millennials are the generation that likes to dedicate the most time to travel. Not only do they take up to 35 vacation days in a year, but they also spend most of their free time on the road. 

Travel statistics reveal another curious behavior—42% of millennials plan to travel domestically in 2022, whereas 51% intend to go on international trips, too.

Once again, the numbers are virtually reversed for baby boomers: 51% prefer to stay within the borders of their country and 43% are willing to do both kinds of travel.

Fun fact: 7% of millennials and 6% of baby boomers say they are only interested in traveling abroad!

12. 47% of millennials believe it’s important to stay connected with their employer while on holiday.

(Source: AARP)

There are all sorts of travel statistics to study, but here’s one that we didn’t expect: 74% of millennials expect to have to do at least some work while on holiday. Moreover, nearly half of them (47%) believe that it’s important to stay connected with their boss.

Baby boomers think otherwise. While 56% of them reckon they’d need to work even while away, 84% agree that there’s no need to keep in touch with the company until the trip’s over.

In other words, younger people are much more likely to mix work with personal time.

Fun fact: Millennials are more likely to go on holiday in the first place. Compared to just 68% of boomers, 79% of millennials use all of their time off.

13. Almost half of US adults who are older than 50 are still wary of coronavirus.

(Source: AARP)

The latest travel data from 2022 reveals that even now, many older Americans worry about the safety of travel.

Of those who have already been on trips post-pandemic, 77% say they felt safe enough. However only 51% of those who have yet to resume traveling think it’d be safe to do so.

Regardless, the number of people who are completely opposed to the idea has gone down from 8% in 2021 to 2% in 2022. 

Fun fact: 42% of Americans aged 50+ have been saving up unused travel budgets since 2020 to splurge on future trips. On average, they’re carrying about ten days of vacation into 2022, too.

14. 58% of US travelers prefer to buy local.

(Source: Expedia)

What do you think about more—how much to spend on a vacation or what to spend that money on?

Well, if you’re one of the latter, you should know that the majority of US and Canadian travelers (58% and 64%, respectively) say that they prefer to support local shops instead of international chains when traveling. 

Furthermore, 54% are interested in recommendations for good local places to try out. Globally, just 45% of people feel the same way.

Travel Destinations

Choosing a destination used to be easier—you threw a pin at a map, and, so long as it thought it agreeable to land on land, you went there.

Nowadays, you first have to verify if you need a visa to enter that country, if that country is actually receiving tourists at this time, and—if both of those things check out—you have to get your COVID documentation ready.

Luckily, things are now returning to normal, so our stats are looking more sanguine.

15. US passport holders can travel visa-free to 186 countries.

(Source: Statista)

If you’ve ever considered international travel, you’ve most certainly asked yourself the question “Where can I travel to from the US without a visa?”

Rest assured, the US passport is one of the most powerful in the world, allowing you entry to 186 countries—but there are more powerful passports out there.

Japan and Singapore are tied for the number one spot, as their passports unlock the doors for 192 countries each. Germany and South Korea follow behind, offering access to 190 countries.

The US, the UK, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium, and Switzerland share third place, allowing you to cross 186 borders hassle-free.

(Source: Statista)

Sandy beaches, delicious food, good weather, fine tequila… What’s not to love?

Mexico is a well-loved destination for tourists around the world, though it’s particularly popular among North American travelers. In 2019, Mexico received 39.3 million US tourists and 15 million Canadian travelers.

Europeans like Mexico, too—though not as many tourists make the trip across the Atlantic. Britons (3.9 million), Italians (3.2 million), French (3.1 million) make up for the rest of Mexico’s top five visitors.

17. 75% of Americans are going on domestic trips this summer.

(Source: Travel Agent Central)

Travel in the US has never been livelier. Thanks to the pandemic, people are still wary of going abroad—but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay locked up any longer.

Instead, three-quarters are going on domestic trips in the summer. Where exactly are they going?

Well, the hottest destination seems to be Orlando, Florida. With Universal, Disney, and dozens of other theme parks available, there’s little doubt why it’s a popular destination.

Seattle and Honolulu are also popular vacation spots in 2022.

Fun fact: Every year, 182 serious accidents happen in amusement parks and nearly half of them have something to do with roller coasters.

18. There are 660,000 Airbnb listings in the US.

(Source: iProperty Management)

The average prices of Airbnb properties across the US can be anywhere between 6% and 17% cheaper than hotels. That explains why many tourists prefer private accommodation.

Plus, it’s not like there’s a lack of supply. In the US alone, there are over 660,000 Airbnb listings, which receive a combined 40+ million visitors each year.

Wrap Up

Reading statistics on vacation spending is fun, no doubt, but reading up on your next trip is probably a better idea.

So, choose a destination and hop on a plane before another global disaster strikes just in time to ruin your plans.

Aleksandra Yosifova
Aleksandra Yosifova

With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.